National HIV Testing Day is June 27, making this the perfect time to educate yourself on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV is a virus that weakens the immune system, making it difficult for the body to fight infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the following statistics for HIV in the United States:
- About 1.2 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2012
- Of these people, 1 in 8 did not know they were infected
- In 2014, an estimated 44,073 people were diagnosed with HIV
- The annual number of new diagnoses declined by 19% from 2005 to 2014
- More than 90% of new infections could be prevented by testing and treatment
Who should be tested for HIV?
The CDC recommends that everyone – ages 13 to 64 – get tested as part of their routine health care. Those at higher risk of contracting HIV should be tested at least once a year:
- Men who have sex with men
- Anal or vaginal sex with an infected partner
- Multiple partners since your last HIV test
- Previous sexually transmitted diseases, hepatitis, or tuberculosis
- Shared needles and injected drugs
- Exchanged sex for money or drugs
- Unknown history of your sexual partner
Where to get tested?
Be honest about your sexual and recreational activities during your annual visit with your Capital Women’s Care provider. He or she may recommend an HIV test based on your risk behaviors or as a general health precaution. To find testing sites in your area, visit the CDC’s GetTested website, call 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) to learn about free testing sites, or contact your local health department or community health center. While there is no cure, HIV can be controlled with treatment.